Meeting Henrique Alves Pinto in São Paulo
Brazil’s New-Generation Serial Entrepreneur - We’re strolling through Jardins Paulista, one of São Paolo’s upmarket neighbourhoods. The street scene is an eclectic mix of luxury boutiques and old-school corner shops, trendy restaurants and high-rise apartment blocks. It’s a sharp contrast to the favelas that lie on the outskirts of this metropolis, and once again underscores the huge contrasts and enormous social differences that exist in Brazil.
But things are changing – Brazil is booming. It is one of the few countries in the world with strong economic growth and each year millions of people rise above the poverty line. Later today, we are going to talk to Henrique Pinto, who is part of a new generation of entrepreneurs. With their new business ethics, these entrepreneurs are the driving force behind the country’s new economic power.
We sit down at a café on Rua Oscar Freire and order two large lattes. “Let’s see what Google has on Henrique,” I say as I take out my iPad. “Born in the city of Belo Horizonte, a one-hour flight from São Paulo, he started his first business at the age of 18. Since then he has founded more than 10 highly successful companies from scratch,” I read out loud. “And as if that weren’t enough, his businesses are highly diverse, ranging from granite and marble to business aviation, through fruit juices to cosmetics and construction. Seems like everything he touches turns to gold.”
“I wonder if there’s a secret,” Maarten jokes as he leans back and takes a sip of coffee. “Maybe he has a secret alchemist’s formula that he uses to turn all his businesses into gold.” I scroll through the Google results. “I can’t find anything about a formula, and he’s certainly not making a secret of it. He is sharing his knowledge by giving motivational speeches to his employees and high-school students.”
“What does he talk about?” Maarten asks. “What is the main message?” I tap on the iPad screen and scroll down. “Let me see… it’s about the power of the mind. Here he quotes Henry Ford: ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.’ So actually, I guess he’s teaching young people to believe in themselves.”
“Sure,” Maarten replies, “but it’s more than just words – he shows them that it’s possible. The guy practises what he preaches.” I look at a photo of Henrique on the tablet. “I’m seriously looking forward to meeting him.”
© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
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